Legend of Lake Baikal

The oldest and deepest lake on Earth. The pearl of Russia and Siberia.
Embark on a 7 day journey around Lake Baikal. Visit its most extraordinary natural wonders and get acquainted with the local culture and legendary heritage of the world’s most ancient lake
Dive into the Legend of Lake Baikal on this glorious summer excursion to the glittering Blue Pearl of Russia. Plummeting to 1,642m at its deepest point, Baikal is also the world’s most voluminous lake. Its mirror-clear waters are a reflection of Siberia’s wildness, its vastness and its beauty. Baikal is a place where shamans still speak to the spirit world, wildlife-rich virgin forests thrive and lake-living seals fish and frolic in freshwater. Surrounded by jagged mountains and taiga of pine, fir and cedar, Lake Baikal is a protected World Heritage site. Unsurprisingly, it is the most famous attraction in Siberia, but Baikal's sheer size means there's always an escape from the crowds.

Legend of Lake Baikal Tour Highlights

  • The Taltsy Museum between Irkutsk and Listvyanka is a fabulously comprehensive open-air museum, set over 64 acres. Over 40 historical buildings from both the Russian and Buryat cultures of Baikal have been painstakingly reconstructed and authentically furnished. Wander through the streets of an 18th-century Siberian village and get a feel for life in a nomadic Buryat summer camp
  • Cruise to Olkhon Island, the largest of Lake Baikal’s islands and the “capital” of shamanistic culture. On a day tour of Olkhon’s natural wonders, discover untouched Siberian forests, craggy capes, pristine beaches and jaw-dropping sunsets
  • Baikal Nature Reserve: Here, the desolate mountains of the Khmer Daban Range descend steeply to the rocky shores of this wild southeastern stretch of coast. The park preserves subalpine meadows and tundra, and deep within the taiga, bears, lynx and eagles. Hike along the Oskinova River, guided by a local huntsman to a crystal clear waterfall and enjoy a homemade lunch at a riverside hunter’s hut

This one week tour gives you enough time to see the most renowned and enigmatic sights scattered along the shores of Lake Baikal and hidden offshore on the remote, rocky islands that dot Baikal’s interior. Many of Baikal’s most striking natural monuments are also it's most sacred. Baikal, and especially its largest island, the astonishingly beautiful Olkhon, are central to the rites, rituals and legends of the local Buryat people, who commune with the natural world through the ancient practice of shamanism.

 

Your week-long Legend of Lake Baikal tour starts from the historic town of Irkutsk on the Trans-Siberian Railway, but we’ll soon leave the city behind for the idyllic rural villages of Baikal’s western shore.

 

Enjoy Baikal’s glorious summers cruising the glassy waters of the lake to the opposite bank and into the Republic of Buryatia. Almost like crossing a national border, Buryatia is primarily inhabited by the descendants of the Mongols and far more eastern in flavour than Irkutsk. Visit a nature preserve and trek to a waterfall through tundra and taiga accompanied by a local hunter. Next, we’ll set sail for Olkhon Island, home to mysterious archaeological sites, majestic cliffs, pristine beaches and soul-stirring sunset over the endless expanse of the lake. We'll also stop off at Ogoy Island, where you'll find one of the only authentic Buddhist stupas in Russia.

 

From its wild nature to its extraordinary people and fascinating blend of cultures, this relaxed yet insightful tour will reveal the secrets, the stories and the legends of the mighty Lake Baikal.

7 days
from
$
2,450
USD
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Arrival

Departure

Accomodation

Trip style

Irkutsk

Irkutsk

3* hotel, guesthouses

Culture, Nature

Duration

Action rating

Group size

Type of tour

7 days / 6 nights

     

1-12

Guaranteed Departures

Itinerary View map

Day 1:Welcome to Irkutsk

Welcome to Irkutsk, a fascinating city on the Trans-Siberian Railway and the gateway to Lake Baikal.

Meet a guide at the airport, jump onto a coach for a picturesque drive (68 km) to Listvyanka village, located on the western shore of the Lake Baikal.

Along the way, you will visit the fascinating ethnography museum-complex of wooden architecture called "Taltsy".

Here you will experience walking through the Siberian streets of the 18th century.

Upon arrival at Listvyanka village, a cozy fishermen settlement, you will enjoy a lunch and try the Siberian cuisine.

After lunch, you will visit the Baikal Museum, where you’ll discover more
about the lake’s history and unique forms of flora and fauna. You will also visit the aquarium and meet the playful Baikal Seals that inhabit the lake.

This day will finish with a spectacular view of the southern part of Lake Baikal from the Cherskogo Rock lookout.

*The tour starts at 10 am, so please make sure you arrive in Irkutsk not later than 9:45 am. Pre-tour extensions, such as hotel accommodation and transfers can be secured by us upon booking, contact us for more info.

Day 2:Boat trip to Tankhoi

Today you will enjoy a cruise to the opposite shore of the Lake, located in Buryatia region.

After breakfast at the hotel, you will be picked up by your guide and transferred to the pier. On a mini cruise to Tankhoy village, you will cross Lake Baikal and find yourself in the Baikal Nature
Reserve.

Here the high tundra is perfectly adjacent to the fir-cedar taiga. You will visit the tourist centre, where we will learn about the reserve, after, accompanied by the Huntsman, we make a short hike towards the river Osinovka, to see the picturesque waterfall.

Enjoy lunch with homemade delicacies at a hunters hut located next to the mountain river in a creek valley.

After resting in nature, we head back to Listvyanka. The rest of the day is free; you may take a walk along the embankment and go shopping at the local fish market.

Day 3:Olkhon Island

Today, you will embark on a 5h drive to the very heart of Baikal - the island of Olkhon.

During the journey to the island, you will be amazed by incredibly picturesque landscapes, sacred places and natural beauty of the area.

Jump into 4wd cars (3-4 people in a car) and embark on a drive along the magnificent Tazheran Steppe, which once was home to the first indigenous Baikal peoples, whose petroglyphs are found at the tribal encampment sites.

The silence and tranquillity of these places will be replaced by music and laugh, as we taking a part in participation in the national dance called “Yokhor” with the locals.

Afterwards, you will enjoy a traditional meal - grilled lamb - the main part of local Buryat people diet. Next, we head further to the ferry, which will take us to the island. After a short transfer to the hotel in Khuzir village, where you may take your time to relax or take a stroll to the most famous
place of Lake Baikal - Cape Burkhan to enjoy the sunset.

Day 4:Khoboy Cape

This morning, you will have the opportunity to spend time at your discretion: sunbathing on the beach, riding a quad bike or just walking, enjoying nature. Closer to noon, after lunch, you will embark on an excursion to the Northeast part of the island - Khoboy Cape.

This 4wd trip from south to north will take appx 5 hours and will allow you to discover the beauty of the island. First, the road will pass through a small forest, then you will observe the hills and steppes. Next, you will see unique "rock complexes", Sagan-Khushun ("Three Brothers"), and
finally, you will arrive at the very north of the island - Cape Khoboy (in translation from Buryat"fang"), a very special and sacred place.

Here you feel yourself both on the edge of the island and on the edge of the Earth, you will see endless water expanses of Baikal that will make you feel as a part of the universe. Cliffy rocks, absolute silence, the infinity of the sky and the watery surface - it seems as if Eternity settled here.

After picnic lunch at one of the most beautiful locations, we
head back to Khuzhir village.

Day 5:Ogoy Island

After breakfast, we make a short walk to the Burhkan Cape, where you will be met by an assistant of a hereditary shaman and will be invited to the yurt. In the format of the lecture, you will learn about the origins and features of shamanism and will be able to ask any questions.

After lunch, you will embark on a boat excursion to one of the most spiritual places of Lake Baikal – Ogoy island, where Buddhists Mortar is located.

Mortar or the «stupa of enlightenment» symbolizes in the modern interpretation the goal of the Buddhist path. This goal is to understand one’s own mind. It is the place where love is expressed with remarkable power; where you can obtain harmony with the environment.

This harmony is experienced by being surrounded by the living power of the virgin nature that surrounds you.

Day 6:Back to Irkutsk

Time to say goodbye to beautiful Lake Baikal as our journey comes to the end.

After breakfast, we board our transport and head back to Irkutsk, the route will take about 5 hours.

Upon arrival in Irkutsk, accommodation in the hotel. After lunch and a little rest, you will enjoy a comprehensive city tour. You will admire the churches and noble mansions, small wooden houses and narrow streets. You will visit the embankment of the Angara River, Kirov Square, the dam of the hydroelectric station and many other significant places.

The evening is yours for last-minute shopping, relaxed walk on the cozy city’s streets or a dinner in one of the endless cafes or restaurants.

Day 7:Departure

After breakfast in the hotel, a transfer to the airport will be organised.

Inclusions

Accommodation

3* hotel accommodation in Irkutsk, guest houses in Listvyanka and Olkhon

Meals

Breakfast in the hotels, picnic lunches during day excursions, dinners in the hotels

Transportation

Group arrival and departure airport transfers

All transportation according to the itinerary (coach, 4wd car, boat)

Guides

Local English-speaking tour leader

Activities and sights

All activities and sights indicated in the itinerary (except optional)

Other

Russian visa support documents

*Russian visa can be arranged by 56th Parallel for an additional cost (for Australian citizens only). Apply for a comprehensive visa service here.

Not included

Flights, travel insurance, visa, optional excursions, individual transfers, tips

Dates & Prices

DatesAvailabilityPriceSingle sup. 
2019 dates coming soon
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $ Reserve

Testimonials

Katherine AskinaziUSA

Thank you for setting things up for me. 

I have returned from my travels and am ready to share my experiences with you. The drivers were excellent - everyone showed up on time and were very helpful. The guide, Anna, was very knowledgeable in describing the sights in Irkutsk, Tasty and Baikal. The Central Hotel in Irkutsk was top notch. Baikal Cedar surpassed my expectations.  The room was lined with cedar planks and had a spectacular view of the lake.  The bathroom was quite modern.  The hostess, Olga, was very friendly and helpful.  

I saw the Lake Baikal museum, the nerpas in the aquarium and rode the chairlift.  I really loved the Circumbaikal railway ride.  I was surprised that three meals were included (not just lunch).  I had a window seat in the best car.

The only disappointment was that the hike did not go as planned.  I think it was Anna's first time on the trail and I'm not confident we took the correct route.  It took us so long to get to the lunch spot, I wasn't sure we could make it to the end (Bolshiye Koti) before darkness set in.  Anna was unable to gauge how long it would take to hike to the end. Some other hikers, passing in the other direction, told us it would take another three hours.  We decided to stay where we were and to call for the boat to pick us up from there. In retrospect, I would have preferred someone who already knew the trail.

All in all, I'm glad I finally saw the place that had been on my mind for many years.  I wouldn't have been confident choosing lodging, etc. on my own.  It's hard to trust online reviews these days. My visit with my cousins was not without adventure.  A passenger took ill on the flight from Irkutsk to Moscow, so we had to land in Perm.  The delay caused me to miss my connecting flight to Rostov.  I caught the next flight, but my luggage arrived a few flights later.  In Rostov, my cousin did get sick and was hospitalized for 5 days.  It gave me an opportunity to see the medical system up close. Quite an eye-opener, for many reasons.  Since I work in a hospital, it was interesting to compare the two systems.

Donna BeckUSA

It was a fabulous tour!

I was very interested to learn about Lake Baikal and I very much accomplished that goal via this wonderful tour. I enjoyed most the broad variety of activities, led by extremely capable guides... Beautiful hiking, scenic sailing, fun 4-wheel drive rides, spiritual destinations...all within proximity of beautiful Lake Baikal.
7 days
Irkutsk
from
$
2,450
USD
Make an enquiry Detailed Itinerary
7 days
from
$
2,450
USD
Make an enquiry Detailed Itinerary
Click here to subscribe

If you have any urgent questions or enquiries, please give us a call +61 2 9388 9816